By Maureen O’Hare and Paul Sillers, CNN
(CNN) — Right now, a lot of us can’t even fly out of our own countries, but if Florida-based planemakers Aerion are to be believed, by the end of the decade we’ll be able to jet between Los Angeles and Tokyo in under three hours.
The Aerion AS3 is a Mach 4+ commercial airliner, revealed Monday, that its manufacturers say will be able to carry 50 passengers at a range of 7,000 nautical miles.
“Our vision is to build a future where humanity can travel between any two points on our planet within three hours. Supersonic flight is the starting point, but it is just that — the beginning,” said Aerion’s chairman, president and CEO, Tom Vice, in a statement. “We must push the boundaries of what is possible.”
Earlier this year Aerion expanded its ongoing partnership with NASA’s Langley Research Center, with a specific focus on commercial flight in the Mach 3-5 range.
To put that in layperson’s terms, that’s 2,300 to 3,800 miles per hour, or 3,700 to 6,200 kph — or up to seven times as fast as a regular long-distance passenger plane.
Conceptualization and design work is currently under way, with more details set to be revealed later in 2021.
The AS3 is the second plane to be revealed in Aerion’s family of jets, and there are also future plans for hybrid-electric supersonic planes.
The AS2 — which promises to fly New York to London in 4.5 hours — is Aerion’s bid to become the first supersonic passenger aircraft to enter commercial service in more than 50 years.
The 8-12 passenger business jet will travel at Mach 1.4 (more than 1,000 mph), with production starting on the supersonic craft in 2023. The AS2’s first flight is slated for 2024 and the company intends to take the plane to market in 2026.
Aerion is currently building a massive new global headquarters in Florida, right next to Orlando Melbourne International Airport, to work on its ambitious projects.